Maggies on my mind.

Category: Speakers

There I was, minding my own business, when I innocently went into my favorite audio shop to just chat and look at the goodies. I sat down in the listening room and heard a used (albeit sold) pair of Maggie 1.5s. Oh, SH*T! WHAT a sound! It was addicting. Wide soundstage, no boxiness ... I felt like I was right on the bandstand. Holy moly! My friend suggested that I listen to the 1.6s since the 1.5 was discontinued. The 1.6s were heard through a Levinson integrated and Rega Planet 2000. They sounded nothing like the 1.5s ... collapsed soundstage, thin, uninvolving, boring and very directional. Maybe it was the electronics, I dunno (you'd figure a Levinson integrated would do a great job, n'est ce pas?). The 1.5s (heard through a Musical Fidelity rig) were simply intoxicating ... I WANTED to O.D. on 'em. I went home to listen to my B&W N804s and heard "the box" for the first time. I am now sorely depressed. Those 1.5s were just magical (albeit way big for my room). Sigh!
It's the room. It's the set-up within that room. What you mention concerning the 1.5s are the Maggies long suit. I drew the line at the less than realistic bass when I auditioned 3.6s a while back, although that openness does beckon. I was even thinking of keeping my Paradigm Studio 100 v2s at one end of the room and installing the 3.6s at the other end and buying a swivel chair...
I am a Maggie diehard here. These do harmonic richness and 3D presentations like no others I have yet heard....but I do hope to hear all the talk about Avalons and Kharmas some day. As we all know, the Maggies, at least the 3 series, require a good 200w at least. The ARC VT130 amp I owned was an awesome sonic match with this but it simply did not have the output capability for higher levels. The ARC CL150 amps were marginally better in power but the VT130 bloom magic was much reduced when the CL150s replaced the VT130. I have since gone with a Counterpoint NPS400 amp and this is excellent with the 3.5s. And I was quite startled how much more refined the NPS400 was over the CL150s, and more headroom to boot. Rarely does a product half the cost of another exceed the higher cost product by so much in so many ways. So look into the Counterpoint amps for Maggies.

Over the years it has been all about the harmonic richness, forever decays and 3D presentation that I have sought in a music system. If there was ever a line of electronics that simply does not handle these areas well, it is the Madrigal Levinson line. Holy cow....way too analytical to me! After hearing the great ARC, BAT, CJ, of the 80s and 90s and now the Aesthetix electronics, going with Madrigal gear is simply not involving to me at all. With such electronics, you will NEVER hear the Magnepan magic that the tubed products can bring.

I have no experience with the 1.5 or 1.6, but the 3.3 and 3.5 that I have owned are excellent values on the used market. I think for just a few hundred $$ more, a pair of 3.3 has simply got to be more exciting than the 1 series models. Yes, the 3 series are big, but so are ALL maggies! Area few more inches in ht or width really that big of a difference? I think if you can accommodate the 1s, you should be able to accommodate the 3s.

So try to hear the 3.x as well. Just be aware the Magnepans are not really a good choice for Home Theatre applications. I find the Talon speakers to be awesome for HT. But for music, wow, the Maggies are simply unbeatable.

Hope this all helps.

I agree with Jafox. I've owned the 3.3Rs & now own Apogee
Mini Grands. The true ribbon tweeter is just better than anything else - as long as you can dedicate the room & the gear it deserves.
Hi RLB61,

I own the Maggie 1.6qr's. I heard them in several "showrooms" before I purchased them. If I would have depended on how they sounded in the various "showrooms" I never would have purchased them. Most audio "salons" do not know how to set up the audio gear they demonstrate...that is simply a fact of life we audio enthusiasts must learn to tolerate if we "must" go to audio salons at all.

Instead, I took the advice of a few reviewers and audiogon members and purchased them.

I cannot begin to tell you the musical bliss they are capable of delivering! Of course no speaker is "perfect." But the Maggie 1.6's allow the music to flow into the "air" with the same delicate and dynamic sensation that l"ive" music has. The music penitrates you with its mysterious presence...everything is there to make you feel connected to the musical idease...the profound feelings.

I am certain there are other speakers that can also recreate music with the same magic...and perhaps a bit more of this or that thrown in...especially if you read the many positive reviews in this forum.

But that is not the it? The Maggie 1.6's bring most of what you need to feel emotionally attund to the music with a plethora of "detail" that is musically "natural" and a never ending delight to experience. The electronics must be synergistic and it is worth checking out the feedback here and in AA.

I am currently listening with a 7 watt sep(entoid) amp and it sounds and liquide. I am waiting for a Carver Professional ZR1600 to arrive tomorrow and an Axiom "passive" pre-amp (attenuator). I'll let you know how it sounds after it is broken in.

Best of luck to you-Richard
I've owned serval pairs of Magnepan. I've heard the 1.6s sound great and I've heard them sound thin (bad). Magnepans LOVE current....not watts, but current. The more current, the more open and transparent they sound.

There is nothing else quite like them. But I'm telling you the 1.6s are much better than the 1.5s. And what your experience PROVES is that matching components to speakers is a MUST!

If you want the best that Magnepans can offer, I suggest a tube front end and a huge SS amp with plenty of current. This is by far how the Maggys sound best.